The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 10, 2009

Board of Appeals revamping 40B permit process

Planning Board member Michael Epstein and associate member David Freedman appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on April 6 to present a set of five documents defining the proposed 40B Comprehensive Permit Regulations. “These regulations establish procedures for applications to the Carlisle Board of Appeals for comprehensive permit projects,” said Freedman.

The set of five documents culminated an initiative started by the Planning Board last fall with consultant attorney Jon Whitten to develop a comprehensive set of regulations and bylaws to facilitate management of future 40B developments. ZBA Chair Edward Rolfe plans to hold a public hearing on April 27 to receive input from the town on the new regulations, which he hopes will replace the existing outdated 40B guidelines.

Purpose of new regs

The first of five documents contains the Comprehensive Permit Regulations, which state that, “The purpose of these regulations is to establish rules for the procedural and substantive review and adjudication of comprehensive permit applications ... and in doing so, protect the health, safety and welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the proposed development and the town, including but not limited to, the following purposes: to protect drinking water supplies as the town has no piped water system ... and no public wastewater treatment system; to maintain open spaces by recognizing the concern for irretrievable loss of farmlands, wetlands and woodlands while respecting the rights of property owners; to encourage the most appropriate uses of land through a proper balance of development and preservation given the town’s limited infrastructure, including few commercial services and the complete absence of public transit; to preserve the historical and cultural characteristics of the town; to provide a mix of housing types and a range of housing costs that encourage diversity; and to enable long-term residents of Carlisle to remain in the town, providing a sense of history and continuity.”

Performance standards

Attachment A defines Comprehensive Permit Performance Standards and lists those effects that developments should minimize, such as alteration of ground water flow and removal of mature trees, and those that developments should maximize, such as physical protection of views from public ways and wildlife corridors.

Advisory groups to aid review

Attachment B outlines the Development Review Hearing Schedule and the Policy Governing Use of Town Hall Advisory Groups. The document requires that several town boards and committees be provided with a copy of the application and accompanying plans, “within seven days of filing of a development application that proposes to create more than four dwelling units, or to divide a parcel of land into four or more lots, or anticipates the disposal of greater than 1,500 gallons per day of wastewater.” Attachment B also notes that Carlisle’s boards and committees have at times found it beneficial to utilize the services and advice from a Town Hall Advisory Group (THAG) when conducting reviews of the proposed development projects. The use of THAGs is seen as benefiting both the town and the applicant for a development permit.

Expense reimbursement

Attachment C covers the reimbursement of legal, consulting and incidental expenses for services rendered by the Town of Carlisle. It also requires the applicant to sign a consent agreement regarding the accuracy of the application and its content.

Local Initiative Programs

A fifth document relates to the Local Initiative Program (LIP) regulations, which establishes rules for the review of comprehensive permit applications that seek support of the Board of Selectmen (BOS). It requires the BOS to meet in public session to discuss an application within 30 days of receiving the application, and to render a written decision within 60 days of the initial public meeting. Endorsement of the LIP application by the BOS does not constitute approval of the comprehensive permit.

Copies of the five documents will be available in the Town Clerk’s office and plans are to post it on the Town website sometime before the public hearing on April 27. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito